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‘I don’t cry over it’, Kirby Smart reflects on Georgia’s CFP snub

The SEC’s spring meetings are underway in Destin, Florida, this week. While most of the conversation has been focused on the recently expanded league, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart was asked about the Bulldogs’ unprecedented ending to the 2023 season.

Before the College Football Playoff committee released their final rankings, no No. 1 team had ever fallen out of the top four in the last week of the season. That is until Georgia became that example after suffering a 3-point loss to Alabama in the SEC Championship Game.

Smart shared a no-nonsense response to if he was surprised when the Dawgs were left out and if he considered UGA as one of the best four teams.

“No, not surprised at all. We had our opportunity on the field and that is what you can ask for. I don’t cry over it. I think we had a good football team.”

“I don’t know. Not for me to decide. Didn’t get to play the others.”

The committee selected Michigan, Washington, Texas and aforementioned Alabama as the four playoff teams. The Wolverines went on to defeat Washington in the national championship, while the Dawgs pulverized Florida State in the Orange Bowl.

Despite Georgia’s trek for a third consecutive national championship ending early, Smart said the Bulldogs valued their matchup versus FSU in South Florida. Something that was clearly different on the other side.

“We got to practice 15 more times I think it was. Got to play some guys. We got to play our backup quarterback. We got the chance to finish off on a win. We had a group of seniors, or juniors in some cases that got drafted that walked off that field for the last time with the winningest record in the history of Georgia football and they felt pretty good about themselves. I really appreciate the way they finished and they set a standard for our younger players that this is the culture here. We go out and we practice really hard and we go play our games until the games are over.”

Georgia is a safe bet to make the expanded playoff in 2024. 16 starters return from the squad that went 13-1 last season, headlined by star quarterback Carson Beck and two-time All-American safety Malaki Starks.

This year’s path is bound to be different, though. While the Bulldogs won’t have to be perfect to get in, winning the SEC Championship will pay off with a first-round bye. That would mean taking care of business against two marquee opponents who are coming off playoff appearances in Alabama (Sept. 28) and Texas (Oct. 19). The conference’s new division-less format means the top two teams in terms of SEC standings will compete in Atlanta for the conference crown.

Story originally appeared on UGA Wire